Wednesday, February 28, 2024

The Murder of the Whitechapel Mistress: Victorian London's Sensational Murder Mystery


The Murder of the Whitechapel Mistress is a true-crime historical saga written by knowledgeable and enthusiastic Victorian crime author Neil Watson. Released 23rd Nov 2023 by Pen & Sword on their True Crime imprint, it's 288 pages and is available in hardcover and ebook formats. 

This is an involved and somewhat intricate true-crime case from 1871-1875 in which a bigamist businessman betrays his lawful family, acquires a mistress/second wife and family, gambles his money away, goes bankrupt and conspires to, and carries out, murder on the mistress, and manages to convince everyone she moved away. Despite being a sensational and lurid tale, the author does a very good and balanced job of presenting the facts of the case without exploiting the more horrific aspects.  

The text is meticulously annotated and written in accessible and easy to understand language. The chapter notes and bibliography will provide hours of further reading for students of true-crime history. The text is enhanced with appendices which contain historical and modern photos of the environs and some of the sites where the murder and later trials occurred as well as facsimile documents. There are happily no lurid crime scene photographs.

Four stars. Well written and absorbing, but quite sad. Recommended for readers of true crime history. It would also make an excellent choice for public library acquisition, as well as possibly for a history book club study.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.   

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